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Cites Russia’s Growing Threat
By Harold Hutchison

The commanding general of United States European Command is seeking a halt to troop cutbacks in the region. Citing the growing threat of Russia in the region, Air Force Gen. Philip Breedlove, who is also Supreme Allied Commander, Europe, made the call while in Washington, DC.

According to media reports, Breedlove’s view about the situation in Europe has been changing. “For the last 12 to 14 years, we’ve been looking at Russia as a partner ... making decisions about force structure, basing investments, etcetera, etcetera, looking to Russia as a partner,” he told the Military Times. However, recent events in the Ukraine have changed his views on the matter.

Currently, the United States has about 67,000 military personnel deployed in Europe, a force that includes two brigade combat teams, and six fighter squadrons, consisting of a mix of F-15 and F-16 fighters. During the Cold War, the American presence in Europe was almost four times the size it was today, and included a number of heavy divisions. There are plans to reduce the number of F-15s in Europe.

“We may need to add additional rotational forces to cover the sustained and persistent presence that we are now envisioning,” the Military Times quoted Breedlove as telling reporters, noting that many of the cuts are already on the books due to budget cuts.